Gene for Successful Aging Without Cognitive Decline


Title: Biomarker for Successful Aging without Cognitive Decline

Current State of the Art: It is estimated that up to one third of adults will experience a gradual decline in cognitive function known as mild cognitive impairment as they age. Individuals with cognitive decline are able to function reasonably well in everyday activities, such as managing finances and purchasing items at stores without assistance, but have difficulty remembering details of conversations, events and upcoming appointments. Most (but not all) patients with cognitive decline develop a progressive decline in their thinking abilities over time, a reduced ability to learn, and impaired memory in which Alzheimer's disease is usually the underlying cause. Minimizing cognitive defects will become even more important as the average life span continues to lengthen and hundreds of thousands of people head into their 80s and 90s, when the risk for cognitive decline is greatest.

Disadvantages with the Current Art: Currently, there is not a test that can detect mild cognitive impairment.  Considerable clinical judgment is required in identifying cognitive decline and a comprehensive clinical assessment including clinical observation, neuroimaging, blood tests and neuropsychological testing are typically necessary to rule out an alternate diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, long-term follow-up and eventual autopsy are necessary to distinguish between patients experiencing cognitive decline due to preclinical Alzheimer’s disease and patients experiencing cognitive decline due to less frequently occurring conditions.

Advantages of Invention: Researchers at Augusta University have identified genetic markers and developed methods for using the genetic markers to identify subjects that can age without cognitive decline. Seniors over the age of 85 with preserved cognition were enrolled in a study to compare these individuals with patients with Alzheimer’s disease. A genome-wide scan of the participants in the study identified a significant set of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene for the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1B (LRP1B). Haplotypes in intron 18 were significant for successful aging versus Alzheimer’s patients suggesting that the identified haplotypes in the gene LRP1B could be protective for successful aging without cognitive decline.

The identified biomarkers could lead to a diagnostic kit that could detect the presence or absence of one or more of the genetic markers in a biological sample obtained from a subject. The proposed kits could include packaged probe and primer sets, arrays of nucleic acid molecules, or beads that contain one or more probes, primers, or other detection reagents. A developed diagnostic kit could lead to identification of patients that are likely to experience cognitive decline without imaging studies or invasive procedures. In addition, early diagnosis could lead to better response to medications as well as non-medication approaches that can potentially improve daily functioning and quality of life for patients with cognitive decline.

Patent Status: Patent Issued 8,216,787; Divisional Filed 

Inventors: Shirley Poduslo

Case Number: AURI-2009-035


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Lei Wan
Technology Transfer Associate
Augusta University
Shirley Poduslo
Alzheimer's Disease
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